The interwebz have made things a lot easier for those of us who really don’t like going outside.
Communities exist for just about everything, especially on Reddit. All sorts of FREAKS hang out there. Into having sex while dressed up like animals? That community exists, and no, I’m not linking to it. That’s gross.
There are also much more, uh, vanilla interests out there. Take investing, something I’m assuming all of us are interested in. There are hundreds of different websites for every kind of investing out there. Whether you’re into real estate investing or putting your money to work in blogs, there are websites where people can weigh in and discuss the basics.
Having internet friends is all fine and good, even if it is a little weird when you first meet them. I’ve met some of my best friends online. Hell, I met my wife online. But there are also reasons to get some offline friends too, especially local ones.
The easiest way to meet friends is to find a common interest. You bond over whatever it is you have in common, and then the relationship blossoms from there.
Say you’re like me and you want to meet real-life people who are into investing. What to you do? You can either go to all sorts of socials and mixers, hoping to somehow stumble upon somebody who has the same interests. Or you can streamline the process by just catering to folks who are already into investing.
I’d prefer to do the latter. Here’s how to start an investment club.
How to find investors
Most investment clubs are centered around real estate, and they’re usually started by real estate agents who are looking to pick up clients. It’s smart marketing, actually.
Stock market investment clubs exist too, which are usually started by an investment advisor looking for assets under management.
Beginning to see a trend here?
The first step is to find like-minded people. Most of the time this is easily done through the internet. A bunch of people with similar interests realize they’re close to each other, and make plans to meet in real life.
But what if you’re Nelson, and you live in a small town with only a potential pool of 100-200 people? That makes things a little tougher.
You’ll have to do the work of asking around. Start with business owners, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and so on. Go to things like Chamber of Commerce meetings or various business meet-ups in your community.
Personally, I wouldn’t be interested in joining an investment club that was just a front to drum up business. So I’d make it clear that I was just a guy looking to discuss all different types of investing with other fellow nerds.
If you’re starting it, chances are you’ll be the de facto president. Rule with an iron fist. What’s the point of being president if you can’t? Hey, it’s working for Donald Trump! Hey-o!
The money question
Most investment clubs pool together their money and invest in stocks they all find interesting.
I personally wouldn’t want to be part of such a club. I’m a do-it-yourself guy. I want to invest my own money. I wouldn’t want any of my capital going in some dumb stock I think is overvalued.
But at the same time, people aren’t going to take it seriously if there isn’t some sort of financial commitment. I’d argue strongly that you at least need to charge a yearly membership fee. Even if you only make it enough to cover snacks and the cost of renting a room, that’s still enough for people to take it somewhat seriously.
And it’s always good to have a way to discuss stuff in between meetings. Facebook groups work good for that.
Running the meetings
Hey, it’s your club. Talk about whatever the hell you want.
If I was going to go to an investment club, I’d want to hear stuff about:
- Stocks (but not the usual suspects)
- Real estate (but from investors, not realtors)
- Various private businesses
- Good ol’ fashioned hard money lending
- Merger arbitrage
Things I definitely wouldn’t pay to hear about:
- Anything pyramid scheme-y
- Any managed product
As tempting as it would be to just hang around and talk stocks all night, there needs to be a meeting format. I’d suggest making at least one member pitch an idea each meeting, with the requirement of each member having to make at least one such presentation a year.
If you invite me to your investment club, please have the following snacks:
- Jalapeño and Cheddar Doritos
- Beef jerky
- Movie theater popcorn
- Costco/7-11 hot dogs
The following snacks will result in my skipping your meeting for all of eternity:
- Oatmeal raisin cookies
Conclude that ish, yo
I would LURVE to start an investment club, but I fear my small town just doesn’t have enough serious investors in it. Besides, I don’t really want to be president of anything. I’m more of a junior vice president kind of guy.
As long as you can find yourself a decent group of people, an investment club will be an interesting opportunity to talk with like-minded people in real life, and will present the opportunity to look at investments you wouldn’t normally consider.